The Choteau Classic drew 35 varsity teams and many junior varsity team to Choteau for a big weekend of high school wrestling on Jan. 17 and 18.
Glasgow won the tournament with 173 points, the cooperative team of St. Ignatius/Charlo took second with 114.5 points and Broadwater County High School from Townsend took third with 114 points.
Isaiah Alik, the 170-pound champion from St. Ignatius/Charlo, was named the J.J. Werdal Outstanding Wrestler and received a belt buckle in remembrance of Choteau High School standout wrestler J.J. Werdal, a 2015 graduate, who was killed in a vehicle accident in 2018.
Quick pin honors for the tournament went to Austin Vanek of Cut Bank at 160 pounds, who pinned Byron Hay of Three Forks in :32.
Choteau only had three wrestlers competing on the weekend, and only one, sophomore Jacob Major at 170 pounds, in the varsity tournament, where he went 0-2. Major, an unseeded wrestler, had to wrestle in a “pigtail” match for the right to get into the bracket for the varsity tournament. He was tied, 10-10, with his opponent at the end of the third round and went into overtime.
Major got a takedown to win the decision and compete in the varsity tournament.
On Saturday, after he was eliminated from the varsity tournament, he wrestled in the junior varsity round robin and lost to a Glasgow wrestler.
Choteau’s Kaide Kindler, a junior wrestling at 138 pounds, and Daysha McLoughlin, a sophomore at 120 pounds and a first-time wrestler, both lost their pigtail matches and did not get into the varsity tournament.
In the junior varsity tournament McLoughlin went 0-2 on Friday and on Saturday won an exhibition match. Kindler went 4-0 and took first place in the JV bracket.
Coach Sam Armstrong said he was pleased with Kindler’s wresting in the JV tournament and said nerves just got to him in the pigtail loss. Kindler is showing consistent improvement, the coach said, adding, “He came out firing for the JV tournament, wrestled to his ability, kept his position exactly how we wanted it to be.”
Choteau wrestler Liberty LaValley, a junior at 145 pounds and a first-time wrestler, is sidelined with a rib injury and Hagen Kalista, a freshman at 113 pounds, is exploring taking online classes rather than attending school.
Armstrong said he was deeply thankful for all the volunteers from Choteau and the area who helped put on the tournament. He said he received many compliments on how well the varsity and junior varsity tournaments went, despite some “technological hiccups.”
Armstrong noted that this is long-time tournament manager Bob Scott’s last year, and next year former CHS wrestler Michael Moore will take over tournament manager’s duties.
He also said that the coaches really appreciated the hospitality room coordinated by Patty Mellinger and Jacqui Hadlock.
Armstrong noted that junior high wrestling has now started and he and Levi Guenzler have 18 youth in grades five through eight out.
1. Glasgow 173, 2. St. Ignatius/Charlo 114.5, 3. Broadwater County 114, 4. Columbus/Absarokee/Park City 105, 5. Cut Bank 103, 6. Whitehall 96, 7. Jefferson 91, 8. Fairfield 87, 9. Conrad 76, 10. Manhattan 68, 11. Malta/Whitewater 63, 12. Lincoln County 56, 13. Cascade 44, 14. Anaconda 43, 14. Fort Benton/Big Sandy 43, 16. Florence-Carlton 42, 17. Poplar 40, 18. Valier 39, 19. Chinook 38, 19. Thompson Falls/Noxon 38, 21. Powell County 34, 22. Shelby 28.5, 23. Simms 27, 24. Three Forks 25, 25. Chester-Joplin-Inverness 24, 26. Highwood 19, 26. Plains/Hot Springs 19, 28. Arlee 18, 29. White Sulphur Springs 17, 30. Bigfork 7, 31. Harlem 6, 32. Great Falls Central 3, 33. Belt 0, 33. Choteau 0, 33. Wolf Point 0.
Choteau individual results
JV 120 — Daysha McLoughlin p. by Lane Snider, Chinook, 1:31; bye; p. by Trusten Payne, Broadwater, :25.
JV 138 — Kaide Kindler p. Javan Snyder, Poplar, :00; p. Dominick Peltier, Lincoln County, :36; dec. Brock Barcus, Cut Bank, 5-0; p. Shane Reishus, Thompson Falls/Noxon, 2:41.
V 170 — Jacob Major p. by Will Lane, Broadwater, :58; p. by Joseph Farrier, Bigfork, :29.